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International Franchising Opportunities Reach Far

NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- The 2008-09 recession put a sharp crimp in franchise expansion across the U.S. -- popular brand names as well as small, emerging franchises getting their feet wet. Many franchised companies are still feeling the effects from the gruesome economy and lack of capital access.

But outside the U.S. there are markets such as India, Indonesia and Brazil ripe with opportunity, according to franchise industry experts.

Franchises need to understand they're probably going to have to adapt their concept or brand in nearly every overseas market they enter.

Operating international franchises may require changes to the model, whether that's to adhere to cultural idiosyncrasies or regulatory laws.

Mike Shattuck, president of international brands with Focus Brands, which owns food-related franchises including Carvel, Cinnabon, Auntie Anne's, Seattle's Best Coffee and Schlotzky's, among others, offers some best practices to expanding internationally.

How do you build a model that can be replicated even outside the U.S.?

Shattuck: You need to understand you're probably going to have to adapt your concept or your brand in nearly every market. Coming to the realization that you will need to make that adaption is the first thing.

In many cases it may be a tweak on the menu such as portion size in Asian markets. Sometimes if your product has a spicy profile you might have to take that down a bit -- or up a bit. You'll want to have in India a level of vegetarian classification. You're not going to go into India with beef.

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